In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts and http://www.unleashingreaders.com for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I’m cutting myself short on the posts from last week and sharing some books I read then, now… because I just read so many I didn’t want to overlook any treasures. I have been at a Shaolin Temple all week and went there with the expectation that I’d read loads of books, my iPad primed with some new book treasures, audiobooks loaded on my iPad, and a stack of books by my side. Ambitious I was… I was really hoping for down time, focus time, redirection from technology… what did I complete?:
Early Chapter Book Enjoyed:
Sophie’s Tom by Dick King-Smith – Realistic Fiction, 2nd-3rd grade – Interesting little story that is actually a series. Sophie is an imaginative, persistant little girl who has a difficult time accepting change and making friends. Some children don’t understand her since she likes to keep bugs and is quite fierce. Her persistence includes her certainty that she is going to run a farm when she grows up and that she has a cat named Tom. I thought this story developed well, might be a fun read aloud. Goodreads Summary: “Sophie is a small, determined girl who is going to be a farmer when she grows up. So she’s delighted when, on her fifth birthday (which also happens to be Christmas Day), she gets a model farm and lots of toy animals. What she wants most of all, though, is a real animal – like Tom, for example. The problem is – how to win over her anti-cat dad!”
Fiction books enjoyed:
The Show Must Go On by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise – Fantasy, 3rd grade and up – Release date: September 10th. I was so excited to receive permission to read a new book by this fabulous team. It is so special. I loved finding connections visually between their series 43 Old Cemetery Road and this lovely new release. Having faith in others when they don’t have faith in themselves is a tall order, but this book dishes it up… There’s a wonderful circus run by a kindly older oner, Sir Sidney. He becomes tired and thinks he needs a break from traveling with his show so he places and ad and hires Barnabas Brambles who has many devious, dark plans in mind for the circus. I loved all the animals and performers in addition to the impressive things the circus train is able to do… I also appreciated how the story was wrapped up. Fun quick new fantasy fiction title.
The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers – 4th grade and up, Fantasy – Ok, I admit it. I REALLY bought this book because it was illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. But, David Almond is a genius. Absolutely. I loved the magic throughout the story. The narrator talking with the reader, guiding and torturing you along at his pace, not yours… revealing little gems to keep you guessing and anticipating what will happen next with the story. And in the end? Well, I won’t give that away, but David Almond is one of a kind. It has been a long time since I read one of his books and now I want to process this book for a while and then go read other books by him (I’d read three others before this.) I just loved how the choices of adults led to the main character, a little boy named Stan, take life into his own hands, learn to speak up for himself, and how magical he was at impacting others and helping them be better people. Absolutely fantastic. Highly recommended. This is perfect for your reader who loves Lemony Snicket but wants a slightly happier story but with a few dark edges. Goodreads Summary: “A boy escapes home to seek his own way in the world in a whimsical new outing by the award-winning David Almond, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. Stanley Potts’s uncle Ernie has developed an over-the-top fascination with canning fish in the house, and life at 69 Fish Quay Lane has turned barmy. But there’s darkness in the madness, and when Uncle Ernie’s obsession takes an unexpectedly cruel turn, Stan has no choice but to leave. As he journeys away from the life he’s always known, he mingles with a carnival full of eccentric characters and meets the legendary Pancho Pirelli, the man who swims in a tank full of perilous piranhas. Will Stan be bold enough to dive in the churning waters himself and choose his own destiny?”
Parvana’s Journey by Deborah Ellis – the dedication says it all: “To children we force to be braver than they should be.” Although I was nervous to read another book about Parvana and her tough situation, I pressed through to read this brilliant touching book. I was heartbroken with the beginning chapter reading how Parvana had to bury her father and then flee the area after hearing that she might be turned into Taliban soldiers. The amazing journey she goes on with the different people she encounters including finding a baby in an abandoned building, a hostile boy, and a girl who believes a minefield provide her with sustenance versus fearing it. I just love this character, Parvana, who shows how to be tough but caring and practical but hopeful. Beautiful story I just adored wincing my way through. On to the next story soon! Goodreads Summary: “In Parvana’s Journey, the Taliban still control Afghanistan, but Kabul is in ruins. Parvana’s father has just died, and her mother, sister, and brother could be anywhere in the country. Parvana knows she must find them. Despite her youth, Parvana sets out alone, masquerading as a boy. She soon meets other children who are victims of war — an infant boy in a bombed-out village, a nine-year-old girl who thinks she has magic powers over landmines, and a boy with one leg. The children travel together, forging a kind of family out of sheer need. The strength of their bond makes it possible to survive the most desperate conditions. All royalties from the sale of this book will go to Women for Women, an organization that helps women in Afghanistan.”
Soldier Dog by Sam Angus – Historical Fiction, 5th grade and up – wow. Absolutely adored this book. I couldn’t stop reading it. Just such a touching and heart wrenching story simultaneously. Loved the characters and how they grew through the book. Quite a special introduction with a young boy who was desperately searching for his father’s dog. It introduced his search, hope, and angst missing his older brother who was off in France fighting in WWII and how he had a challenging relationship with his contentious father. The story develops with this young 14 year old boy running away from home and joining the army. Soon after he learns how he can specialize in the army as a dog trainer. This leads to tough survival situations and a beautiful relationship between dog and owner. I won’t give away anything more than this, just njoyrd the story immensely and am quite excited that it is part of Hong Kong Battle of the Books! Goodreads Summary: “He’ll always be true, faithful and brave, even to the last beat of his heart. It’s 1917. In the trenches of France, miles from home, Stanley is a boy fighting a man’s war. He is a dog handler, whose dog must be so loyal that he will cross no-man’s-land alone under heavy fire to return to Stanley’s side, carrying a message that could save countless lives. But this journey is fraught with danger, and only the bravest will survive. As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the true horror of war, he comes to realize that the loyalty of his dog is the only thing he can rely on. . .”
Really interesting pictures here: http://soldierdog.net/messenger-dogs/
Time Riders – Day of the Predator by Alex Scarrow – Book 2 – Science Fiction, 7th grade and up – It was great to jump back into Time Riders so soon after enjoying the first book. I couldn’t stop reading it, again. Alex Scarrow reminds me of D.J. MacHale who writes the Pendragon series. They both write short, suspenseful chapters that pull you along through their adventures. The book series throws you in with characters who are struggling to resolve time travel situations that threaten the future of the earth. This time, a character is thrown into the past and experiences a new type of dinosaur, pretty terrifying creature. It has many other huge components to the story as well, but that’s the big piece for me. Great adventure. Loads of death scenes which is why I think it is a bit for the mature reader vs. elementary reader… I know fans of Legend by Marie Lu would love this story along with other terrific science fiction, adventures! Goodreads Summary: “Liam O’Connor should have died at sea in 1912. Maddy Carter should have died on a plane in 2010. Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2029. But all three have been given a second chance—to work for an agency that no-one knows exists. Its purpose—to prevent time travel destroying history . . . When Maddy mistakenly opens a time window where and when she shouldn’t have, Liam is marooned sixty-five million years ago in the hunting ground of a deadly—and until now—undiscovered species of predator. Can Liam make contact with Maddy and Sal before he’s torn to pieces by dinosaurs—and without endangering history so much that the world is overtaken by a terrifying new reality?”
Why Kimba Saved The World by Meg Dendler – Animal Fiction/Science Fiction, 3rd grade and up! This is a special book for readers to enjoy. I’d say it is a combination of animal fiction and science fiction with humorous situations mixed in throughout. I really enjoyed Kimba’s point of view, how her turmoil was presented, how the humans interaction and growth of the kittens was developed in the first few chapters, and interaction between species was amusing as well… Loved that there were precious pictures mingled throughout the book too. Since there were some real pictures mingled in the book, I was able to picture every bit of the story in a way I haven’t with other animal fiction books… Goodreads Summary: “How can a young cat pick between everything she has ever wanted and everyone she has ever loved? Kimba lives the care-free life of a much loved house cat, but what she really wants is freedom and the wild life for which she was born. Then she learns a secret that changes everything, including her destiny. Will she join this mysterious cat conspiracy? Kimba must choose between the freedom she craves and the human family she loves.”
Audiobook I enjoyed:
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, Fantasy, High School – intense book, quite violent. I never read folktales about water horses before and found that quite surprising since I was quite obsessed with reading every single horse book I could get my hands on when I was a child. I really appreciated hearing Maggie Stiefvater’s comments at the end of the book. They helped me appreciate the book even more than I already did. The audiobook narrators were both brilliant and brought this story to life. The violence, cruelty, and amazing descriptions of the yearly Scorpio Races really keep this book at the high school reading level. This book quickly climbed into one of my favorite audiobooks that I just didn’t want to complete. Quite well done! Goodreads Summary: “It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.”
I read two books that I adored and look forward to sharing reviews for quite soon, Falcon in the Glass by Susan Fletcher – absolutely fantastic! and The Great Trouble by Deborah Hopkinson, fascinating research and information! Shall promote these soon enough in a blog post and interview! I was thrilled to have time to read them!
What is next? Well, I finally committed to reading Book Love by Penny Kittle, professional read. I’m eating this book up! Glad I put it off until right before school starts, provides me with ideas and inspiration.
I also have around 10 more books I was hoping to read before returning to school. Shall see how well I progress through some of those treasures!
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.